Drawings by Pawel Kuczynski

These drawings are from Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski. Pawel was born in 1976 in Szczecin. He graduated the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan with specialization in graphics. He is famous for his satirical illustrations that should shock you

Click to view slideshow.

These drawings are from Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski.

Pawel was born in 1976 in Szczecin. He graduated the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan with specialization in graphics.

He is famous for his satirical illustrations that should shock you


Cities on Speed – Bogotá

During the early 1990′s Bogotá was the capital city of Colombia and by far the “worst city in the world”. Doomed by corruption, chaos, poverty and violence, Bogotá was at urban decay. At the midst of collapse two creative politicians … Continue reading

During the early 1990′s Bogotá was the capital city of Colombia and by far the “worst city in the world”. Doomed by corruption, chaos, poverty and violence, Bogotá was at urban decay.

At the midst of collapse two creative politicians with radically new methods changed the city at a speed never imagined. This is the beautiful story of Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa two mayors who created citizenship, culture and democracy in a rotted city.

Upfront Films in collaboration of the Danish Film Institut and DR present a film of Andreas Dalsgaard.

Watch this, it is fun and inspiring, also there is an underlying theme about whether means supersede goals and whether freedom of moral choice is more powerful than forced compliance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antanas_Mockus


Tlatelolco, 2 de octubre de 1968

Benditos los que olvidan, aunque tropiecen con la misma piedra Nietzsche El movimiento de México 68 se inserto en un contexto mundial de luchas sociales surgidas y recreadas de las universidades luego de vivirse un periodo de bonanza económica por … Continue reading

Benditos los que olvidan, aunque tropiecen con la misma piedra

Nietzsche

Foto : Armando Lenin Salgado. Estas imágenes pertenecen al archivo del fotografo Armando Lenin Salgado, quien en octubre de 1968 trabajaba para la revista Sucesos. Salgado cubrio varios de los mitines y marchas del movimiento estudiantil y aunque no estuvo en el mitin de la Plaza de las Tres Culturas el 2 de octubre, al día siguiente recorrio la explanada.

El movimiento de México 68 se inserto en un contexto mundial de luchas sociales surgidas y recreadas de las universidades luego de vivirse un periodo de bonanza económica por la Posguerra, 50 años despues nos encontramos en una mayor crisis en la que el despertar de una conciencia social es la unica esperanza.

La intolerancia, el autoritarismo, y la pasividad de la población, permitieron que se diera el trágico suceso de 1968, en Tlatelolco. A diferencia de otros países latinoamericanos que están saldando las cuentas de la represión durante la guerra fría, México sigue sin dilucidar la matanza de Tlatelolco.

Click to view slideshow.

La tarde del 2 de octubre de 1968, un día después de la salida del ejército de los campus de la UNAM y del IPN, miles de personas se reunieron en la Plaza de las Tres Culturas en Tlatelolco.

Mientras tanto, el ejército vigilaba, como en todas las manifestaciones anteriores, que no hubiera disturbios, principalmente porque el gobierno tenía temor de que fuera asaltada la Torre de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores.

Por su parte, miembros del Batallón Olimpia (cuyos integrantes iban vestidos de civiles con un pañuelo o guante blanco en la mano izquierda) se infiltraban en la manifestación hasta llegar al edificio “Chihuahua” donde se encontraban los oradores del movimiento y varios periodistas.

Primera conferencia de prensa convocada por el Consejo de Huelga de la UNAM el 5 de octubre.

Cerca de las seis de la tarde, casi finalizado el evento, un helicóptero sobrevoló la plaza del cual se dispararon bengalas, presumiblemente, como señal para que los francotiradores del Batallón Olimpia apostados en el edificio “Chihuahua” abrieran fuego en contra de los manifestantes y militares que resguardaban el lugar, para hacerles creer a estos últimos, que los estudiantes eran los agresores.8 Los militares en su intento de defenderse, repelieron “la agresión de los estudiantes“, pero ante la confusión, los disparos no fueron dirigidos contra sus agresores, sino hacia la multitud de manifestantes que se encontraban en la plaza de Tlatelolco.

Muchos manifestantes que lograron escapar del tiroteo se escondieron en algunos departamentos de los edificios aledaños, pero esto no detuvo al ejército, que sin orden judicial, irrumpieron a cada uno de los departamentos de todos los edificios de lo que conforma la Unidad Tlatelolco, para capturar a los manifestantes.

Aún se desconoce la cifra exacta de los muertos y heridos.9 El gobierno mexicano manifestó en 1968 que fueron sólo 20 muertos, tres años más tarde, la escritora Elena Poniatowska, en su libro La noche de Tlatelolco publicó la entrevista de una madre que buscó entre los cadáveres a su hijo y reveló que por lo menos había contado 65 cadáveres en un solo lugar.10

Jorge Castañeda en su artículo “Los 68 del 68“, publicado el 30 de agosto de 2006 en el periódico Reforma escribió:

De acuerdo con el informe histórico, en la Plaza de las Tres Culturas murieron ?cabalísticamente? 68 estudiantes y un soldado…”. Y todo uso de la fuerza pública se empezó automáticamente a asimilar al 68, pero al 68 magnificado: al de los 500, no al de los 68. Todo uso de la fuerza se volvió una masacre en potencia…”

México Desgraciado

Es importante subrayar y recordar que el año de 1968 fue de rebeldía en todo el mundo, no solamente en México. Tampoco fue sólo 1968, sino toda la década de los sesenta fue liberadora. No solo fue la lucha política en las calles, en las plazas y las escuelas, también fue (sobre todo) la batalla cultural de los jóvenes y las mujeres por romper contra la sociedad tradicional autoritaria y opresiva de los gobiernos, los empresarios, el clero, la familia, la escuela y el partido. La década de los sesenta fue una revolución cultural y política en los EEUU, en Francia, Alemania, Checoslovaquia; tanto en el mundo capitalista como al interior del llamado bloque socialista. Y en esa revolución fueron los jóvenes (los de la etapa más revolucionaria y transformadora de la vida) los que comenzaron a echar abajo el pensamiento y comportamiento viejo y tradicional. ¡Viva los hipies, los Beatles y los Rolling, la sicodelia, el amor libre, la libertad!

Sartre y su existencialismo, el Che y su humanismo, China y su maoísmo, Bakunin y su anarquismo y el filósofo crítico Marcuse, se convirtieron en bandera de los jóvenes luchadores sociales de entonces. “Prohibido prohibir” significó la plena libertad que iba unida a la “conciencia de la necesidad” de Marx. Los que militábamos en partidos marxistas radicalizados y pasábamos de los 25 años hacíamos esfuerzos por entender a aquellos jóvenes que dejaban sus hogares para organizar sus comunas, que rompían con su trabajo y sus ingresos para laborar en colectividad, que luchaban contra el consumismo y gritaban que había que hacer el amor y no la guerra y que con su guitarra, su pintura, su folklorismo y su rock, pensaban que podrían derrotar el capitalismo hipócrita y destructor de la humanidad. Si bien los acontecimientos políticos fueron los más difundidos, la revolución cultural fue la transformación real.

Editorial Clío. Es de la Serie “México Siglo XX: Gustavo Díaz Ordaz”

Este documental reúne la totalidad de los testimonios cinematográficos que se conocen sobre el trágico suceso del 2 de octubre de 1968; identifica a jefes militares y de fuerzas especiales que participaron en los hechos y presenta un claro panorama del complot que marcó un hito en la historia de México.

Tlaltelolco, es la continuación de una persistente búsqueda de claves que explican la matanza de la Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Destacan en este minucioso trabajo la identificación del esquema represivo puesto en marcha por el gobierno del Presidente Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, a artir del 28 de agosto de ese año; un revelador documento del embajador estadounidense en México, Fulton Freeman, que aporta sólidos indicios acerca de la intervención de Washington en el conflicto, y las sorprendentes evidencias en torno a la actuación de francotiradores desde el edificio sede de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación.

En 1998 canalseisdejulio inició una investigación acerca del operativo militar que provocó la matanza del 2 de octubre del 68 en Tlaltelolco.

Producto de esa primera aproximación es el documental ‘Batallón Olimpia’. Dos años más tarde el mismo equipo produjo ‘Operación Galeana’, un video filme que profundizó la indagación sobre el mismo tema.

Ahora, en una coproducción con ‘La Jornada’, se presenta el documental ‘Tlaltelolco, las claves de la masacre’ como la conclusión de esta ardua investigación.

Puedes comprar el DVD en:
http://www.canalseisdejulio.org/1/content/tlatelolco-las-claves-de-la-masacre

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Movimiento_de_1968_en_M%C3%A9xico

TESTIMONIO DE UN EXMILITAR

Mario Alberto Sierra

Cuando llegamos había poca gente, como al diez para la cinco ya había 5 mil o 6 mil personas, y cuando empezó el mitin a las 5:10 ya había entre 8 mil y 10 mil asistentes. Sentíamos un ambiente raro y le sugerí al sargento Gama que nos moviéramos a una de las esquinas de la plaza, cerca del edificio Chihuahua.Alrededor de la plaza estaban las tanquetas del 12 Regimiento de Caballería Motorizada, que habían llegado de Puebla para el desfile del 16 de septiembre y que se quedaron en la ciudad. Escobar Alemany le contó después que desde esos vehículos se disparó indiscriminadamente contra la fachada del Chihuahua.La plaza era una ratonera, y el edificio Chihuahua, la trampa. Le dije a Gama que nos colocáramos en la orillita. A las 6:10 vio salir las luces de bengala del helicóptero militar que ya llevaba su quinta ronda sobre la plaza. Salieron del helicóptero, fueron tres luces: dos verdes y una roja. Eran luces especiales que se sueltan y alumbran como un arcoiris. Nosotros no sabíamos nada, no teníamos ninguna instrucción. Inmediatamente se escuchó un disparo y a la distancia no supimos de dónde venía, pero fue de pistola. Luego otros cinco o seis disparos.Vi a un francotirador en el techo de la iglesia. Hubo otros disparos desde el edificio del ISSSTE. La imagen de la gente moviéndose era extraña, era como cuando el trigo se mece hacia donde lo lleva el viento. Así se movió la gente buscando una salida en sentido contrario de donde venían los disparos.

Dice que al día siguiente, 3 de octubre, se levantaron tarde porque no habían tocado la diana. No había casi nadie en las instalaciones militares. Mientras estaban desayunando los llamaron para ordenarles que regresaran a Tlatelolco en el camión militar que transportaría a mediodía el rancho para los soldados.

[Al siguiente día] ¿Qué vimos? Era como una zona de guerra. Había un silencio especial, pesado, se podía agarrar. Le dije a Gama: ‘¿Cuánto apuestas a que De Flon nos dice que por qué no estuvimos en el mitin?’ Gama me dijo ‘cómo crees’, pero dicho y hecho: Nos lo reclamó, como si hubiéramos tenido que estar muertos, heridos o detenidos para probarlo. Tuvimos que explicarle lo que nos pasó.En la plaza había basura, ropa, manchas de sangre tapadas con periódico, sangre aún fresca mezclada con agua. Había llovido.

FUENTE

TESTIMONIO DE LA FAMILIA DE UNA DE LAS VÍCTIMAS

Diana Rivera es hermana de una de las víctimas de Tlatelolco, su hermano Guillermo (Chomy) era un adolescente de 15 años en el momento de ser abatido y muerto por tres impactos de bala. Asistió al mitin de Tlatelolco sin pertenecer a ninguna organización.Ella también se dirigía hacia allí: «Sin embargo, ya no pudimos entrar a la plaza. Los soldados habían bloqueado la zona y nosotros nos quedamos atrás de los tanques. Unos jóvenes que huían nos dijeron: “Están matando a todo mundo”. No había necesidad de que nos lo dijeran; nosotros escuchábamos los disparos y olíamos la pólvora.Pensamos en ese momento que la represión era más selectiva, que sólo se disparaba contra los dirigentes. No imaginábamos que el tiroteo fuera contra el grueso del mitin». Su hermano cayó herido de muerte tras los primeros disparos, supieron que lo habían trasladado a un hospital militar y que allí falleció, persiguieron a la ambulancia que transportaba el cadáver: «Aquella persecución fue una pesadilla, no sabíamos adónde llevaban el cuerpo.Seguimos a la ambulancia que entró finalmente al edificio del Servicio Médico Forense. Allí vi una de las cosas más espantosas de mi vida: las planchas eran insuficientes, por lo que estaban repletas de cadáveres amontonados, unos encima de otros. Había cuerpos de niños, de niñas, de mujeres embarazadas… Habría algunos 200 cadáveres de gente masacrada. La misma escena cuya foto vi después publicada en la revista ¿Por qué?, que dirigía Mario Menéndez. Esa foto yo la viví. Yo vi esa escena».

… nos dijeron que solamente podíamos sacar el cadáver de mi hermano si testimoniábamos, en el acta de defunción, que había muerto por otra causa…No nos quedó más alternativa que dejar asentado que mi hermano murió por otras causas, ahorita ya ni recuerdo cuáles…Diana considera que será imposible investigar los hechos basándose en actas ministeriales o en certificados de defunción, puesto que en aquel entonces los familiares fueron obligados a poner otras causas de las muertes. «Más que por las actas, la investigación tendría que guiarse por testimonios de los familiares de las víctimas. Pero entre nosotros nunca hubo contacto. No había esa conciencia del derecho que hay ahora.

FUENTE

MÁS TESTIMONIOS

Florencio López Osuna

Llévatelo, y a la primera pendejada, te lo chingas, fue lo último que escuchó antes de que lo bajaran, a empellones, del tercero al segundo piso del edificio Chihuahua.Había sido el primer orador del mitin y fue el único de la lista de tres comisionados para hablar esa tarde en nombre del Consejo Nacional de Huelga —los otros eran David Vega y Eduardo Valle—, que alcanzó a pronunciar su discurso.Yo estaba en el centro de la tribuna. Cuando comenzaron los disparos, me di la vuelta, y, dando la espalda a la plaza, vi que el tercer piso se había llenado de gente que, después supe, era del Batallón Olimpia. Eran jóvenes como nosotros. Algunos traían una fusca en la mano; otros cargaban metralleta. Todos traían un guante blanco. A unos pasos de donde estaba, David (Vega) forcejeaba por el micrófono con uno del Batallón Olimpia, al que se le salió un tiro.Los del batallón les dieron tres instrucciones: ‘Todos a la pared, todos al suelo y al que alce la cabeza se lo lleva la chingada’. Mientras tanto, un tipo alto, fornido, con gabardina, disparaba contra la multitud.

López Osuna permaneció de pie; durante segundos, pegado al barandal del tercer piso, pudo ver cómo se formaba un remolino en la plaza, la gente se movía como una ola de mar. En ese momento, uno de los agentes lo tumbó al piso, cayéndole encima.

A los que estábamos en el tercer piso nos dividieron: A unos los subieron al cuarto piso y a otros nos bajaron al segundo. Yo fui de estos últimos. Un tipo que estaba acostado con nosotros nos decía en qué turno debíamos arrastrarnos. A unos pasos de ahí, había otro tipo en cuclillas. Era el que mandaba. Todavía lo recuerdo: patilludo, orejón. Cuando tocó mi turno, el que estaba acostado le dijo a su jefe: ‘Éste fue orador en el mitin’. Entonces, me jalaron, me mentaron la madre. Ahí empezaron los chingadazos.

René Manning

Cuando empezó la balacera, estábamos viendo por una pequeña ventana, apena cabían dos personas para observar. Fernando vio que por el lado izquierdo, por donde estaba el cine Tlatelolco, y por el lado de Reforma, comenzaron a entrar los soldados. Yo me fijé en el helicóptero, cuando arrojó las luces de bengala: una roja y dos verdes.En el balcón que estaba debajo, a mi izquierda, donde estaban los líderes hablando, vi cuando un hombre de guante blanco agarró a uno del cabello, le puso la pistola en la sien y le disparó… Yo lo vi. Ése fue el primer disparo que escuché y entonces comenzaron a entrar los soldados a la plaza. Entraron abriendo fuego contra la gente que estaba en la explanada. Después entraron una o dos tanquetas disparando contra el edificio Chihuahua. Fernando me jaló y nos fuimos hacia atrás, en ese momento entró una ráfaga de la tanqueta exactamente en el departamento. Rompieron las tuberías y el departamento comenzó a inundarse. Nos fuimos a la última recámara. Ahí nos mantuvimos hasta las cuatro de la madrugada.

Enrique Espinoza Villegas

Estaba en la Preparatoria 5 y era activista. Tenía 19 años y no participé en el Comité de Huelga. El 2 de octubre quise estar en el tercer piso del Chihuahua porque allí iban a estar otros amigos.Llevé a mi madre, pero la dejé en la explanada y me subí. Cuando estaba hablando Socrátes (Amado Campos Lemus) empezó el tiroteo y quise bajar por mi madre, pero ya no me dejaron. Me detuvieron los del guante blanco, que comenzaron a dispararle a la gente.Había dos niños de secundaria que, cuando vieron que los del guante blanco disparaban contra la gente, se les aventaron. Ahí mismo los mataron. Primero les dispararon y en el suelo los golpearon con las cachas de las pistolas. Iban con suéter café.Con tristeza y remordimiento recuerda que no pudo ayudar a su madre Esther Villegas, a la que también se la llevaron los soldados. Ella estaba en las escaleras, alcancé a agarrarla, pero me detuvieron. Me llevaron a un departamento del tercer piso, donde estaban Luis González de Alba, Cabeza de Vaca, Sócrates y La Tita. Allí el policía del sombrero que aparece en las fotos era el que nos quitaba las pertenencias a todos los detenidos.

Pero después Enrique y González de Alba fueron llevados a otro departamento: Allí me quise escapar, vi un guante blanco tirado y traté de ponérmelo, haciéndome pasar por uno de ellos. Con los ojos Luis me decía que no, pero yo tenía miedo y quería escaparme para ir por mi madre, a la que también habían golpeado. Se dieron cuenta porque el guante rechinó cuando quise ponérmelo, me golpearon hasta que perdí el conocimiento. Creo que uno de ellos mismos me salvó porque les pidió que ya no me siguieran golpeando. Cuando desperté me bajaron a la entrada del edificio, donde nos tomaron la foto a un lado del elevador. Yo estoy de espaldas, soy el más alto.

Cuenta que en el Campo Militar Numero Uno nos llevaron a las galeras con camas de metal. Nos despertaban a la media noche y nos decían que nos iban a fusilar. Había ferrocarrileros, trabajadores del banco, estudiantes. Me golpeaban mucho, la tortura también era psicológica. Sacaban gente y se oían tiros, todos temblaban. Nunca vi que regresaban.

Ahí vi a Nazar Haro, varias veces fue a entrevistarnos, casi siempre a la medianoche o en la madrugada. Llegaba con sombrero y gabardina blanca, nos ponía bajo una lámpara y nos preguntaba: ‘¿Qué andabas haciendo, eres estudiante, del Comité, conoces a los líderes?’. No me golpeó, me hice pasar como trabajador de Aurrerá, estaba muy asustado. Me tomaban fotos mientras me interrogaban, huellas digitales de todos los dedos de las manos. Me parecían eternos, con preguntas insistentes.

FUENTE

Todo es posible en la paz, lema de los Juegos Olimpicos

Sólo restaban 10 días para el inicio de la justa deportiva mundial. El tiempo estaba, paradójicamente, en contra de la paz. En la imagen, avenida 20 de Noviembre, Zócalo capitalino FOTO Archivo General de la Nación. Fondo Hermanos Mayo

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2007/10/02/2deoctubre.php

Casi 40 años y no se olvidaEl Fotógrafo de GobernaciónLife en español Las filmacionesLa noche de TlatelolcoEl ABC del 68


El ABC del 68

canalseisdejulio

Retrato de una generación

Dedicado a los jóvenes

Original de los protagonistas

“Para la historia…”

Otros imprescindibles  

http://web1.taringa.net/posts/info/7310639/2-de-octubre-no-se-olvida_.html

Olimpiada de México 1968

http://sobrehistoria.com/tlatelolco-matanza-estudiantil-en-mexico-68/

Aquel año se celebraba la Olimpiada de México 1968, pero la inquietud internacional iba en aumento: se vivían los peores momentos de la Guerra de Vietnam, pocos meses antes había ocurrido la trágica Primavera de Praga, cuando los tanques soviéticos entraron en la capital checa; en París, los estudiantes se habían levantado, el racismo en Sudáfrica alcanzaba su apogeo, y México vivía una fuerte inestabilidad interna producto de las malas condiciones económicas que atravesaban. El 27 de agosto de aquel año, más de 200.000 estudiantes marchaban por el centro de Ciudad de México, y se instalaron en el Zócalo, una plaza central del Distrito Federal. Al día siguiente, la policía local reprimió la revuelta.

México era la ciudad ideal, por su próxima organización de los Juegos Olímpicos y convertirse así en un buen foco publicitario, para mostrar los desacuerdos, no sólo con la política interna del gobierno federal, sino con la inestabilidad mundial. Pero México y su Gobierno no estaba dispuesto a convertirse en un foco de revueltas precisamente en unas fechas tan señaladas. Las revueltas se sucedieron, y en Septiembre, mandó al ejército ocupar el Campus Universitario produciendo decenas de heridos entre los estudiantes. Ya, en esa represión, se habló de que había habido decenas de muertos, y que la policía los había incinerado para ocultar las pruebas al Mundo. Aún así, las protestas continuaban a ritmo creciente, mientras los participantes de todos los países del mundo iban llegando a la capital.

El 2 de Octubre, en la plaza de Tlatelolco o de las Tres Culturas, se congregaron casi 50.000 estudiantes. Pero no hicieron sino caer en una emboscada, pues de todas las calles convergentes, aparecieron las fuerzas del ejército, rodeando la plaza. Se disparó una bengala… y la matanza comenzó.

Los soldados empezaron a disparar indiscriminadamente contra los allí presentes, mientras los estudiantes huían aterrorizados. Casi 400 estudiantes murieron aquel día, y más de mil resultaron heridos de gravedad. Se quemaron gran parte de los cadáveres y los heridos fueron llevados a hospitales militares para ocultar la Verdad. Ya de noche, los bomberos y la policía se encargaron, con chorros de agua a presión, de lavar todas las huellas del magnicidio en aquella plaza, dejándola impoluta para la mañana siguiente.

Tantos años después, aún no se sabe de dónde partieron las órdenes. El presidente mexicano de aquellos momentos, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, al parecer pidió la presencia militar en la plaza, pero fue el Comando Supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas quien ordenó el fuego. Todos los documentos de aquella matanza se quemaron o no aparecen. El presidente mexicano, Díaz Ordaz, ya murió; su sucesor, Echevarría, dice no saber nada. Sólo ciertos documentos de la CIA, el FBI, la Casa Blanca y el Pentágono, parecen arrojar algo de luz sobre el asunto:

- El Pentágono había enviado durante 1968 a México expertos en luchas antisubversivas para enseñar a los militares mexicanos.

- Hay documentos en los que Echevarría, Secretario de Gobernación durante el Gobierno de Díaz Ordaz, y sucesor en la Presidencia del mismo, indicó a la CIA que la situación se controlaría en poco tiempo.

- Según la CIA, el Gobierno mexicano había arreglado con algunos de los lideres estudiantiles una falsa acusación por la que dirigentes políticos contrarios al Gobierno eran los que andaban detrás de las revueltas estudiantiles.

Se han contabilizado cuatrocientos muertos, ateniéndose a las cartas de denuncias de desapariciones de decenas de madres, pero nunca podrá llegarse a saber la cifra exacta de aquel desastre. Desde entonces, cada 2 de octubre, en la plaza, estas madres se manifiestan portando las fotos de sus hijos desaparecidos al grito de:

“¡Vivos los tuvimos! ¡Vivos los queremos!” 

http://www.lafogata.org/mexico/mexico1.htm

http://arqmontecristo.blogspot.com/2010/10/2-de-octubre-no-se-olvida.html

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB180/

http://gatopardo.blogia.com/2008/100201-la-matanza-de-tlatelolco-del-2-de-octubre-de-1968.-informe-femospp.php

http://navegarsobreeloceano.blogspot.com/2010/10/tlatelolco-y-el-2-de-octubre-entre-el.html

http://ecatepec.blogia.com/2007/100203-2-de-octubre-no-se-olvida.php#.Toc7cxn73hg.facebook

http://lagalletabi.blogspot.com/2010/10/2-de-octubre-no-se-olvida.html

http://tlatelolco1968.camacho.com.mx/viven.html

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movimiento_de_1968_en_M%C3%A9xico

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tlatelolco_massacre

http://laberintodepiedra.blogspot.com/2011/10/mexico-68.html

Vivieron para contarlo

Florencio López Osuna era dirigente de la Escuela Superior de Economía del IPN en el 68 y actualmente es subdirector de la Voca 5. Es el que aparece en la portada de la revista, la semana pasada.

Llévatelo, y a la primera pendejada, te lo chingas, fue lo último que escuchó antes de que lo bajaran, a empellones, del tercero al segundo piso del edificio Chihuahua.

Había sido el primer orador del mitin y fue el único de la lista de tres comisionados para hablar esa tarde en nombre del Consejo Nacional de Huelga —los otros eran David Vega y Eduardo Valle—, que alcanzó a pronunciar su discurso.

Originario del municipio de Concordia, Sinaloa, le había tocado hablar de la situación del movimiento estudiantil, que se extendía por todo el país, y anunciar que se suspendía la programada marcha al Casco de Santo Tomás.

Yo estaba en el centro de la tribuna. Cuando comenzaron los disparos, me di la vuelta, y, dando la espalda a la plaza, vi que el tercer piso se había llenado de gente que, después supe, era del Batallón Olimpia. Eran jóvenes como nosotros. Algunos traían una fusca en la mano; otros cargaban metralleta. Todos traían un guante blanco. A unos pasos de donde estaba, David (Vega) forcejeaba por el micrófono con uno del Batallón Olimpia, al que se le salió un tiro.

Los del batallón les dieron tres instrucciones: ‘Todos a la pared, todos al suelo y al que alce la cabeza se lo lleva la chingada’. Mientras tanto, un tipo alto, fornido, con gabardina, disparaba contra la multitud.

López Osuna permaneció de pie; durante segundos, pegado al barandal del tercer piso, pudo ver cómo se formaba un remolino en la plaza, la gente se movía como una ola de mar. En ese momento, uno de los agentes lo tumbó al piso, cayéndole encima.

A los que estábamos en el tercer piso nos dividieron: A unos los subieron al cuarto piso y a otros nos bajaron al segundo. Yo fui de estos últimos. Un tipo que estaba acostado con nosotros nos decía en qué turno debíamos arrastrarnos. A unos pasos de ahí, había otro tipo en cuclillas. Era el que mandaba. Todavía lo recuerdo: patilludo, orejón. Cuando tocó mi turno, el que estaba acostado le dijo a su jefe: ‘Éste fue orador en el mitin’. Entonces, me jalaron, me mentaron la madre. Ahí empezaron los chingadazos.

Por acuerdo de una asamblea, López Osuna acudió armado a Tlatelolco, igual que otros de sus compañeros.

Hay que pensar qué momento estábamos viviendo: Nuestras escuelas eran ametralladas constantemente, había que tener con qué defenderse. Cuando estaba en el suelo, en lo único que pensaba era en cómo deshacerme de la pistola. El tipo patilludo me ordenó: ‘Ven acá’. Me estaba apuntando con una pistola. Y entonces pensé que era prudente informarle que estaba armado. El tipo se descontroló. Empezó a catearme desesperadamente, hasta que me encontró el arma. Me pegó con la pistola en la boca y empecé a sangrar. Y le dijo a uno de sus compañeros: ‘Llévatelo, y a la primera pendejada, chíngatelo’.

En el segundo piso le quitaron el cinturón y, a diferencia de otros estudiantes, le amarraron las manos hacia atrás. Su ropa fue cediendo a los jalones. Sólo permanecieron en su lugar los calzones mojados. La chamarra y la camiseta quedaron colgadas de los antebrazos, atoradas en la atadura de las manos.

Ya bajo custodia del Ejército, con la cara sangrando, lo pasaron bajo los chorros de agua que escurrían del edificio. Había que lavarle la cara para poderlo fotografiar.

Al llegar al Campo Militar Número Uno, donde permaneció hasta su reclusión en Lecumberri, la versión oficial sobre la pistola se había transformado. Éste traía una ametralladora, acusó un militar. Sólo alcancé a decir: ‘No es cierto, era una 380, y no la disparé’.

Luis González de Alba era representante de la Facultad de Psicología de la UNAM en el 68. Actualmente es escritor y periodista.

Las fotos son la constatación, la absoluta evidencia, de lo que los líderes del movimiento del 68 venimos diciendo desde hace más de 30 años: que la masacre de Tlatelolco la comenzaron hombres vestidos de civil con un guante blanco en la mano izquierda y una pistola en la derecha. Así lo declaramos en el Ministerio Público desde entonces, así lo declaramos después en cuantos medios pudimos, yo lo he dicho en todos los medios en donde he estado. Bueno, aquí está la constatación, fue así exactamente como lo relatamos.

En cuanto al texto que se publicó en Proceso también la semana pasada, dice que no está de acuerdo en que las fotos muestran la perfecta coordinación entre las fuerzas armadas y los grupos paramilitares:

Lo que demuestran es la absoluta falta de coordinación entre el Batallón Olimpia y el Ejército regular, que es lo que siempre he venido diciendo.

El grito ‘Batallón Olimpia no dispa-ren’ es el grito del Olimpia al Ejército: ‘Somos el Batallón Olimpia, no nos disparen a nosotros’. Esto demuestra que no tenían ni siquiera un radio, ésa es la prueba de la falta de coordinación: grupos diferentes del Ejército que están comprometidos en una misma operación militar se comunican de distintas formas, pero nunca a gritos, eso sí resulta absolutamente aberrante.

Recuerda el testimonio del fotógrafo de Paris Match: Dice que se encontraba en el edificio Chihuahua, en el tercer piso, tirado en el suelo, rodeado de gente que tenía un guante blanco en la mano, y que estaban también tirados en el suelo. ¿Qué hacían los del Olimpia tirados en el suelo? Ellos eran los que llegaron a comenzar los disparos, ellos eran los armados. Estaban tirados en el suelo porque el Ejército vio los fogonazos y dijo: ¡Son los estudiantes quienes nos están disparando! Y respondieron al fuego, y fueron avanzando, disparando hacia arriba, no hacia la gente. No estoy tratando de hacer el elogio del Ejército, quiero simplemente poner las cosas en su justo término, si estamos pidiendo justicia, que haya justicia, y no que cada quien le aumente la tinta en donde le guste.

Si el Ejército que tenía rodeada toda la plaza hubiera llegado disparándole a la gente, no queda nadie vivo. ¡Nadie! Y no hubiéramos tenido 30 o 40 muertos, que son los que están en la estela que levantaron en uno de los aniversarios con el nombre de los muertos, o los 100 o 200 que se han dicho, hubiera sido ¡todo el mundo! Pero el Ejército no llegó así, llegó el Olimpia a detenernos a nosotros, y aquí están las fotos de Proceso, ésa es su gran importancia, ¡ahí están las fotos! Exactamente como los describimos: hombres de pelo cortado estilo militar, muchachos de aspecto atlético, en lo general jóvenes, con un guante blanco, y los que no traían el guante blanco, traían un pañuelo blanco, que no hay en las fotos, pero había algunos con un pañuelo blanco. Ahí está demostrado.

Recuerda que en ninguna de las actas que ellos levantaron, las autoridades permitieron que se constatara la presencia del Batallón Olimpia. Pero, paradójicamente, el dato se les escapó en sus declaraciones a los militares que resultaron heridos.

El teniente Sergio Alejandro Aguilar Lucero, del Batallón Olimpia, en el Hospital Militar, declaró: ‘Soy miembro del Batallón Olimpia que fue conformado para salvaguardar las instalaciones olímpicas, y nos dieron orden para venir hoy por la tarde del 2 de octubre. Vestidos de civil nos identificaron con un guante blanco en la mano izquierda’. Lo mismo dijo el capitán Ernesto Morales Soto.

Agrega: Con estas fotografías queda perfectamente comprobada la participación de ese grupo paramilitar, exactamente como lo dijimos nosotros. Ahora, ¿quién lo envió, cómo fue la orden? Todo apunta a Luis Echeverría, no hay más. ¿Quién planeó la trampa? Tuvo que ser Echeverría, nadie más que él y el presidente Gustavo Díaz Ordaz tenían ese poder. Yo, con toda la infinita antipatía que siento hacia Díaz Ordaz, creo que no fue él, porque si hubiera sido, él entonces sí habríamos tenido una operación bien coordinada, porque viene desde el presidente. Pero como es algo chueco, que ni el presidente debe enterarse, quien lo hizo fue el secretario de Gobernación, por eso se dio sin coordinación.

Sobre su detención, recuerda: Lo único que padecí fue frío. Como se ve en la foto, estoy sin camisa; los pantalones no son míos, eran de un niño, me llegaban apenas debajo de la rodilla. La camisa ni siquiera entró. A todos nos habían quitado la ropa, fui golpeado en la nuca por un policía.

René Manning era músico en 1968 y hoy es dueño de un negocio de arte y diseño en Hermosillo, Sonora:

Era ya de madrugada. Estábamos en el cuarto piso del edificio Chihuahua; nos separaron: por una escalera hombres y por la otra mujeres. Estaba empapado porque las tuberías del departamento estaban rotas por las balas. Nos tomaron fotos a cada uno de los que íbamos bajando. Me fijé que el fotógrafo tenía dos o tres personas que le cambiaban la cámara, por los rollos.

Ese día, René y su amigo Fernando Leyva habían llegado al edificio Chihuahua para reunirse con dos muchachas que habían conocido en el café cantante Dos más Dos, de la Zona Rosa, donde tocaba el grupo Los Schippys, que ellos integraban con José Luis Liera.

No recuerdo el número del departamento, pero estábamos visitando a dos muchachas, una de ellas vivía ahí, la otra era de Mexicali. Nos tocó la mala suerte, dice en entrevista telefónica desde Hermosillo.

Cuando empezó la balacera, estábamos viendo por una pequeña ventana, apena cabían dos personas para observar. Fernando vio que por el lado izquierdo, por donde estaba el cine Tlatelolco, y por el lado de Reforma, comenzaron a entrar los soldados. Yo me fijé en el helicóptero, cuando arrojó las luces de bengala: una roja y dos verdes.

En el balcón que estaba debajo, a mi izquierda, donde estaban los líderes hablando, vi cuando un hombre de guante blanco agarró a uno del cabello, le puso la pistola en la sien y le disparó… Yo lo vi. Ése fue el primer disparo que escuché y entonces comenzaron a entrar los soldados a la plaza. Entraron abriendo fuego contra la gente que estaba en la explanada. Después entraron una o dos tanquetas disparando contra el edificio Chihuahua. Fernando me jaló y nos fuimos hacia atrás, en ese momento entró una ráfaga de la tanqueta exactamente en el departamento. Rompieron las tuberías y el departamento comenzó a inundarse. Nos fuimos a la última recámara. Ahí nos mantuvimos hasta las cuatro de la madrugada.

Antes habían tocado la puerta unos muchachos que decían que por favor abrieran porque los iban a matar. Les pedimos que no abrieran porque podría ser una trampa, que podían entrar los soldados o policías y nos mataban. Pero insistieron tanto que abrimos y entraron unos cinco estudiantes, que traían paquetes de volantes en contra del gobierno, que escondieron debajo de los colchones.

Finalmente volvieron a tocar la puerta, pidieron que se abriera, que nada iba a pasar. A la tercera vez gritaron que si no abríamos lo iban a hacer a balazos. Entraron como cinco, con lámparas muy grandes y preguntaron cuántos vivían en el departamento. Pidieron que salieran los miembros de la familia. Yo salí al último porque no encontraba una de mis muletas. Padezco polio desde los nueve meses.

Los que entraron llevaban el guante blanco. Cuando ya nos bajaron y nos detuvieron para tomar las fotos, al lado derecho de la escalera había varios cadáveres apilados, en la salida. Un soldado me dijo que no siguiera volteando, y de reojo alcancé ver los cadáveres uno encima de otro, estaban semidesnudos.

Antes de subirlos a los camiones, les quitaron toda la ropa, las agujetas de los zapatos y los cinturones. Así nos subimos al camión, con la ropa echa rollo. Íbamos amontonados. Nos llevaron al amanecer al Campo Militar Número Uno. Nos pusieron en unos dormitorios con literas de lámina. Lo ficharon, pero no lo torturaron como a su amigo Fernando, que estaba en otro galerón. Me preguntaron nombre, edad y de dónde era originario. No te decían absolutamente nada, sólo sacaban la hoja y fírmale.

Baltazar Doro Guadarrama fue activista de la Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Mecánica. Hoy se dedica a la venta de compresoras.

Fue uno de los estudiantes que se refugió en el departamento donde estaba Manning, quien la semana pasada apareció en la televisión. Aclara que no era el cuarto, sino el quinto piso del edificio Chihuahua y que desde el departamento 504, que era de su tía y donde vivía su prima Susana Ruiz —que en las fotos sale cubriéndose el rostro—, jamás se hubiera podido ver la ejecución que Manning sostiene haber visto.

Susana vivía en el quinto piso, en el departamento 504, donde nos refugiamos como 25 personas, entre ellos Pablo Gómez, Eduardo Valle, Anselmo Muñoz Juárez y Félix Hernández, cuando empezó la balacera. Yo repartía propaganda. Ese día iba a subir a la parte alta del edificio para soltar un globo lleno de propaganda y pasé al tercer piso para que me ayudaran, cuando comenzó el traqueteo.

Manning estaba en el departamento, y cuando nos sacaron me venía protegiendo con él para no ser golpeado tan fuerte, lo ayudaba a caminar. Cuando nos llevaron al segundo piso platiqué con algunos del Batallón Olimpia y nos dijeron que fueron traídos del norte para un operativo, pero nunca les enteraron de la masacre.

Pero todo estaba planeado. Cuando llegamos al edificio Chihuahua, en la parte baja había muchísimos militares vestidos de civil formados, los identificamos plenamente, pero no creímos que fuera a haber una represión tan brutal. Estaba en el tercer piso cuando entraron disparando los agentes policiacos. Eran agentes, algunos estaban en cuclillas, ésos fueron los que comenzaron a tirar hacia abajo, desde la bardita del piso tres. Yo lo vi, no me lo platicaron.

En el departamento 504 se refugiaron hasta las 11 de la noche, cuando los sacaron los del Batallón Olimpia —no a las cuatro de la mañana, como dice Manning—, y de ahí nos llevaron a otro departamento en el segundo piso, que estaba vacío… Después de que nos tomaron la fotografía, nos sacaron por el corredor que va hacia la calle de Eulalia Guzmán, donde estaban los camiones del Ejército. Pero antes de llegar se produjo una segunda balacera y los que nos llevaban, de manera cobarde, se escudaron con nosotros. Después nos metieron a una guardería, nos acostaron y como juego pasaban encima de nosotros corriendo.

En Eulalia Guzmán o Manuel González nos subieron a los camiones y nos llevaron al Campo Militar, por todo Reforma. Allá nos tuvieron en una crujía, hasta el 11 de octubre en la noche, cuando nos soltaron por el Toreo de Cuatro Caminos.

Nos alimentaron muy bien, pero en la noche se oían disparos y algunos de los que nos vigilaron decían que estaban formando ‘cuadro’, que estaban matando a algunos, entre ellos a Cabeza de Vaca.

Enrique Espinoza Villegas era estudiante de la Preparatoria 5, y ahora trabaja para una comunidad de Zacatecas:

Estaba en la Preparatoria 5 y era activista. Tenía 19 años y no participé en el Comité de Huelga. El 2 de octubre quise estar en el tercer piso del Chihuahua porque allí iban a estar otros amigos.

Llevé a mi madre, pero la dejé en la explanada y me subí. Cuando estaba hablando Socrátes (Amado Campos Lemus) empezó el tiroteo y quise bajar por mi madre, pero ya no me dejaron. Me detuvieron los del guante blanco, que comenzaron a dispararle a la gente.

Había dos niños de secundaria que, cuando vieron que los del guante blanco disparaban contra la gente, se les aventaron. Ahí mismo los mataron. Primero les dispararon y en el suelo los golpearon con las cachas de las pistolas. Iban con suéter café.

Con tristeza y remordimiento recuerda que no pudo ayudar a su madre Esther Villegas, a la que también se la llevaron los soldados. Ella estaba en las escaleras, alcancé a agarrarla, pero me detuvieron. Me llevaron a un departamento del tercer piso, donde estaban Luis González de Alba, Cabeza de Vaca, Sócrates y La Tita. Allí el policía del sombrero que aparece en las fotos era el que nos quitaba las pertenencias a todos los detenidos.

Pero después Enrique y González de Alba fueron llevados a otro departamento: Allí me quise escapar, vi un guante blanco tirado y traté de ponérmelo, haciéndome pasar por uno de ellos. Con los ojos Luis me decía que no, pero yo tenía miedo y quería escaparme para ir por mi madre, a la que también habían golpeado. Se dieron cuenta porque el guante rechinó cuando quise ponérmelo, me golpearon hasta que perdí el conocimiento. Creo que uno de ellos mismos me salvó porque les pidió que ya no me siguieran golpeando. Cuando desperté me bajaron a la entrada del edificio, donde nos tomaron la foto a un lado del elevador. Yo estoy de espaldas, soy el más alto.

Cuenta que en el Campo Militar Numero Uno nos llevaron a las galeras con camas de metal. Nos despertaban a la media noche y nos decían que nos iban a fusilar. Había ferrocarrileros, trabajadores del banco, estudiantes. Me golpeaban mucho, la tortura también era psicológica. Sacaban gente y se oían tiros, todos temblaban. Nunca vi que regresaban.

Ahí vi a Nazar Haro, varias veces fue a entrevistarnos, casi siempre a la medianoche o en la madrugada. Llegaba con sombrero y gabardina blanca, nos ponía bajo una lámpara y nos preguntaba: ‘¿Qué andabas haciendo, eres estudiante, del Comité, conoces a los líderes?’. No me golpeó, me hice pasar como trabajador de Aurrerá, estaba muy asustado. Me tomaban fotos mientras me interrogaban, huellas digitales de todos los dedos de las manos. Me parecían eternos, con preguntas insistentes.

La vivencia fue muy fuerte, tengo secuelas, me hice un tipo tímido e introvertido. Incluso me perdí por un tiempo, usé drogas en una comuna hippy, era una manera de fugarme; intenté regresar a la escuela pero ya no pude; llegué hasta el quinto año de medicina en la UNAM. Luego fui a la ENAH a estudiar historia.

Trabajó como ayudante administrativo del gobernador de Zacatecas Arturo Romo. Ahora trabajo en la comunidad muy pobre de Concepción del Oro, en servicios de salud, ayudando a la gente.

“Un soldado avisó a mi familia”

José Manuel Monroy fue activista de la Facultad de Ciencias de la UNAM y hoy es consultor de informática:

Estaba en el primer año de la carrera de Física, en la Facultad de Ciencias, y ese día me tocó llevar a Tlatelolco a Oriana Falacci, con un profesor de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras.

Estábamos en el balcón viendo hacia la plaza cuando comenzaron los disparos. La verdad, no me di cuenta de dónde venían los tiros, pero sí recuerdo haber visto que los soldados avanzaban hacia la plaza. Quise salir, pero la escalera ya estaba tomada por el Batallón Olimpia.

Estuvimos tirados un buen rato en el piso, había muchos heridos. Aquello se estaba inundando. Pecho a tierra, me bajaron al segundo piso y me metieron a un departamento con otros. Me quitaron la ropa y me golpearon en el estómago varias veces.

Serían como las 11 de la noche cuando nos sacaron del departamento y nos bajaron. Yo iba descalzo, en calzones. Me subieron al camión militar, de los cabellos; el piso estaba lleno de vidrios. En el camino los soldados nos daban culatazos y nos fueron amenazando.

En el Campo Militar Número Uno estuve 15 días, en una celda aislada. Mi familia se enteró de que estaba ahí porque un soldado les avisó. Del campo militar me sacaron en la última camada con Gilberto Guevara Niebla y me llevaron a Lecumberri, donde estuve en las crujías H y C. De ahí salí el 24 de diciembre de 1968, con la primera camada de liberados, y regresé a terminar la carrera a la Universidad.

Jesús Gutiérrez Lugo fue activista de la ESIME y ahora ejerce la ingeniería:

“Cursaba el primer año de la carrera. No era miembro de la dirigencia, porque nuestro representante en el CNH era Felix Hernández Gamundi. Más bien era miembro de base del movimiento.

“El 2 de octubre llegué como a las cuatro y media de la tarde con un amigo y compañero de carrera, Marco Antonio Santillán. Subimos al tercer piso por curiosidad, queríamos ver a los oradores.

“Cuando empezó la balacera subimos al cuarto piso y luego tratamos de bajar. Ya no pudimos. Todo pasó muy rápido. Nos apresó un agente de guante blanco y nos metieron a un departamento con unas 30 personas más. Estábamos tirados en el suelo y las balas entraban por las ventanas. Horas después nos sacaron los agentes del guante blanco. Recuerdo que escurría agua color marrón de la escaleras, pero no vi muertos.

“Nos llevaron al Campo Militar Número Uno y nos detuvieron una semana. Al segundo o tercer día nos llevaron con alguien que parecía un agente del Ministerio Público, quien nos interrogó. Nos preguntaba de dónde habíamos sacado las armas. Nos sacaron fotos y nos tomaron las huellas digitales. No sé si quedé fichado, porque cuando pedí mi primer trabajo solicité una carta de antecedentes penales y no salió nada.

“Recuerdo que cuando nos sacaron, éramos como 300 o 400. Un general nos tiró un rollo sobre la defensa de la patria y luego nos dejaron ir”.


facing what is rather than making up stories about it

Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. … Continue reading

  1. Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it.
  2. The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, “I am ruined” is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. “I have 50 cents left in my bank account” is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering.
  3. See if you can catch the voice in your head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact, you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground, there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.
  4. Wherever you look, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time—a rotting apple, your face in the bathroom mirror compared with your face in a photo taken 30 years ago—yet you never find any direct evidence, you never experience time itself. You only ever experience the present moment.
  5. Why do anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. One small error, one missperception, creates a world of suffering.
  6. People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn’t have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that lies beyond what is happening or not happening. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is untouched by time.
  7. The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.
  8. Equating the physical body with “I,” the body that is destined to grow old, wither, and die, always leads to suffering. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn’t mean that you no longer care for it. If it is strong, beautiful, or vigorous, you can appreciate those attributes—while they last. You can also improve the body’s condition through nutrition and exercise. If you don’t equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigor diminishes, or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect your sense of worth or identity in any way. In fact, as the body begins to weaken, the light of consciousness can shine more easily.
  9. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.
  10. If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace.
Exerpted from Oneness with All Life by Eckhart Tolle. Published by arrangement with Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copywright © 2008 by Eckhart Tolle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality


Bertrand Russell on Logical Analysis

This is an audiobook recording of the concluding chapter to Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” (1945). It’s a short introduction to the analytic philosophical movement championed by Russell in the early 20th century. Narrated by Geoffrey Sherman. A philosophy … Continue reading

This is an audiobook recording of the concluding chapter to Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” (1945). It’s a short introduction to the analytic philosophical movement championed by Russell in the early 20th century. Narrated by Geoffrey Sherman.

A philosophy podcast, The Partially Examined Life, has a detailed discussion of Russell’s “Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy,” which surveys many of the same concepts:

http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2011/05/25/episode-38-bertrand-russell-o…


Gottlob Frege

First published Thu Sep 14, 1995; substantive revision Fri Aug 1, 2008

Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (b. 1848, d. 1925) was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher who worked at the University of Jena. Frege essentially reconceived the discipline of logic by constructing a formal system which, in effect, constituted the first ‘predicate calculus’. In this formal system, Frege developed an analysis of quantified statements and formalized the notion of a ‘proof’ in terms that are still accepted today. Frege then demonstrated that one could use his system to resolve theoretical mathematical statements in terms of simpler logical and mathematical notions. One of the axioms that Frege later added to his system, in the attempt to derive significant parts of mathematics from logic, proved to be inconsistent. Nevertheless, his definitions (of the predecessor relation and of the concept of natural number) and methods (for deriving the axioms of number theory) constituted a significant advance. To ground his views about the relationship of logic and mathematics, Frege conceived a comprehensive philosophy of language that many philosophers still find insightful. However, his lifelong project, of showing that mathematics was reducible to logic, was not successful.


Why I Am Not A Christian

by Bertrand Russell Introductory note: Russell delivered this lecture on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall. Published in pamphlet form in that same year, the essay subsequently achieved new fame with … Continue reading

by Bertrand Russell


Introductory note: Russell delivered this lecture on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall. Published in pamphlet form in that same year, the essay subsequently achieved new fame with Paul Edwards’ edition of Russell’s book, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays … (1957).


As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is “Why I Am Not a Christian.” Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to make out what one means by the word Christian. It is used these days in a very loose sense by a great many people. Some people mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life. In that sense I suppose there would be Christians in all sects and creeds; but I do not think that that is the proper sense of the word, if only because it would imply that all the people who are not Christians — all the Buddhists, Confucians, Mohammedans, and so on — are not trying to live a good life. I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian. The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions.

What Is a Christian?

Nowadays it is not quite that. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity. I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature — namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian. Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief about Christ. The Mohammedans, for instance, also believe in God and in immortality, and yet they would not call themselves Christians. I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men. If you are not going to believe that much about Christ, I do not think you have any right to call yourself a Christian. Of course, there is another sense, which you find in Whitaker’s Almanackand in geography books, where the population of the world is said to be divided into Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists, fetish worshipers, and so on; and in that sense we are all Christians. The geography books count us all in, but that is a purely geographical sense, which I suppose we can ignore.Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things: first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness.

But for the successful efforts of unbelievers in the past, I could not take so elastic a definition of Christianity as that. As I said before, in olden days it had a much more full-blooded sense. For instance, it included he belief in hell. Belief in eternal hell-fire was an essential item of Christian belief until pretty recent times. In this country, as you know, it ceased to be an essential item because of a decision of the Privy Council, and from that decision the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York dissented; but in this country our religion is settled by Act of Parliament, and therefore the Privy Council was able to override their Graces and hell was no longer necessary to a Christian. Consequently I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell.

The Existence of God

To come to this question of the existence of God: it is a large and serious question, and if I were to attempt to deal with it in any adequate manner I should have to keep you here until Kingdom Come, so that you will have to excuse me if I deal with it in a somewhat summary fashion. You know, of course, that the Catholic Church has laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason. That is a somewhat curious dogma, but it is one of their dogmas. They had to introduce it because at one time the freethinkers adopted the habit of saying that there were such and such arguments which mere reason might urge against the existence of God, but of course they knew as a matter of faith that God did exist. The arguments and the reasons were set out at great length, and the Catholic Church felt that they must stop it. Therefore they laid it down that the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason and they had to set up what they considered were arguments to prove it. There are, of course, a number of them, but I shall take only a few.

The First-cause Argument

Perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. (It is maintained that everything we see in this world has a cause, and as you go back in the chain of causes further and further you must come to a First Cause, and to that First Cause you give the name of God.) That argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have; but, apart from that, you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?’” That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject.” The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause.

The Natural-law Argument

Then there is a very common argument from natural law. That was a favorite argument all through the eighteenth century, especially under the influence of Sir Isaac Newton and his cosmogony. People observed the planets going around the sun according to the law of gravitation, and they thought that God had given a behest to these planets to move in that particular fashion, and that was why they did so. That was, of course, a convenient and simple explanation that saved them the trouble of looking any further for explanations of the law of gravitation. Nowadays we explain the law of gravitation in a somewhat complicated fashion that Einstein has introduced. I do not propose to give you a lecture on the law of gravitation, as interpreted by Einstein, because that again would take some time; at any rate, you no longer have the sort of natural law that you had in the Newtonian system, where, for some reason that nobody could understand, nature behaved in a uniform fashion. We now find that a great many things we thought were natural laws are really human conventions. You know that even in the remotest depths of stellar space there are still three feet to a yard. That is, no doubt, a very remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a law of nature. And a great many things that have been regarded as laws of nature are of that kind. On the other hand, where you can get down to any knowledge of what atoms actually do, you will find they are much less subject to law than people thought, and that the laws at which you arrive are statistical averages of just the sort that would emerge from chance. There is, as we all know, a law that if you throw dice you will get double sixes only about once in thirty-six times, and we do not regard that as evidence that the fall of the dice is regulated by design; on the contrary, if the double sixes came every time we should think that there was design. The laws of nature are of that sort as regards a great many of them. They are statistical averages such as would emerge from the laws of chance; and that makes this whole business of natural law much less impressive than it formerly was. Quite apart from that, which represents the momentary state of science that may change tomorrow, the whole idea that natural laws imply a lawgiver is due to a confusion between natural and human laws. Human laws are behests commanding you to behave a certain way, in which you may choose to behave, or you may choose not to behave; but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that, because even supposing that there were, you are then faced with the question “Why did God issue just those natural laws and no others?” If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your train of natural law is interrupted. If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others — the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it — if there were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate lawgiver. In short, this whole argument about natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have. I am traveling on in time in my review of the arguments. The arguments that are used for the existence of God change their character as time goes on. They were at first hard intellectual arguments embodying certain quite definite fallacies. As we come to modern times they become less respectable intellectually and more and more affected by a kind of moralizing vagueness.

The Argument from Design

The next step in the process brings us to the argument from design. You all know the argument from design: everything in the world is made just so that we can manage to live in the world, and if the world was ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design. It sometimes takes a rather curious form; for instance, it is argued that rabbits have white tails in order to be easy to shoot. I do not know how rabbits would view that application. It is an easy argument to parody. You all know Voltaire’s remark, that obviously the nose was designed to be such as to fit spectacles. That sort of parody has turned out to be not nearly so wide of the mark as it might have seemed in the eighteenth century, because since the time of Darwin we understand much better why living creatures are adapted to their environment. It is not that their environment was made to be suitable to them but that they grew to be suitable to it, and that is the basis of adaptation. There is no evidence of design about it.

When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending — something dead, cold, and lifeless.

I am told that that sort of view is depressing, and people will sometimes tell you that if they believed that, they would not be able to go on living. Do not believe it; it is all nonsense. Nobody really worries about much about what is going to happen millions of years hence. Even if they think they are worrying much about that, they are really deceiving themselves. They are worried about something much more mundane, or it may merely be a bad digestion; but nobody is really seriously rendered unhappy by the thought of something that is going to happen to this world millions and millions of years hence. Therefore, although it is of course a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out — at least I suppose we may say so, although sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation — it is not such as to render life miserable. It merely makes you turn your attention to other things.

The Moral Arguments for Deity

Now we reach one stage further in what I shall call the intellectual descent that the Theists have made in their argumentations, and we come to what are called the moral arguments for the existence of God. You all know, of course, that there used to be in the old days three intellectual arguments for the existence of God, all of which were disposed of by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason; but no sooner had he disposed of those arguments than he invented a new one, a moral argument, and that quite convinced him. He was like many people: in intellectual matters he was skeptical, but in moral matters he believed implicitly in the maxims that he had imbibed at his mother’s knee. That illustrates what the psychoanalysts so much emphasize — the immensely stronger hold upon us that our very early associations have than those of later times.

Kant, as I say, invented a new moral argument for the existence of God, and that in varying forms was extremely popular during the nineteenth century. It has all sorts of forms. One form is to say there would be no right or wrong unless God existed. I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not: that is another question. The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God. You could, of course, if you liked, say that there was a superior deity who gave orders to the God that made this world, or could take up the line that some of the gnostics took up — a line which I often thought was a very plausible one — that as a matter of fact this world that we know was made by the devil at a moment when God was not looking. There is a good deal to be said for that, and I am not concerned to refute it.

The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice

Then there is another very curious form of moral argument, which is this: they say that the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world. In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying; but if you are going to have justice in the universe as a whole you have to suppose a future life to redress the balance of life here on earth. So they say that there must be a God, and there must be Heaven and Hell in order that in the long run there may be justice. That is a very curious argument. If you looked at the matter from a scientific point of view, you would say, “After all, I only know this world. I do not know about the rest of the universe, but so far as one can argue at all on probabilities one would say that probably this world is a fair sample, and if there is injustice here the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also.” Supposing you got a crate of oranges that you opened, and you found all the top layer of oranges bad, you would not argue, “The underneath ones must be good, so as to redress the balance.” You would say, “Probably the whole lot is a bad consignment”; and that is really what a scientific person would argue about the universe. He would say, “Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice, and so far as that goes that is a reason for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it affords a moral argument against deity and not in favor of one.” Of course I know that the sort of intellectual arguments that I have been talking to you about are not what really moves people. What really moves people to believe in God is not any intellectual argument at all. Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason.

Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people’s desire for a belief in God.

The Character of Christ

I now want to say a few words upon a topic which I often think is not quite sufficiently dealt with by Rationalists, and that is the question whether Christ was the best and the wisest of men. It is generally taken for granted that we should all agree that that was so. I do not myself. I think that there are a good many points upon which I agree with Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians do. I do not know that I could go with Him all the way, but I could go with Him much further than most professing Christians can. You will remember that He said, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” That is not a new precept or a new principle. It was used by Lao-tse and Buddha some 500 or 600 years before Christ, but it is not a principle which as a matter of fact Christians accept. I have no doubt that the present prime minister [Stanley Baldwin], for instance, is a most sincere Christian, but I should not advise any of you to go and smite him on one cheek. I think you might find that he thought this text was intended in a figurative sense.

Then there is another point which I consider excellent. You will remember that Christ said, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” That principle I do not think you would find was popular in the law courts of Christian countries. I have known in my time quite a number of judges who were very earnest Christians, and none of them felt that they were acting contrary to Christian principles in what they did. Then Christ says, “Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” That is a very good principle. Your Chairman has reminded you that we are not here to talk politics, but I cannot help observing that the last general election was fought on the question of how desirable it was to turn away from him that would borrow of thee, so that one must assume that the Liberals and Conservatives of this country are composed of people who do not agree with the teaching of Christ, because they certainly did very emphatically turn away on that occasion.

Then there is one other maxim of Christ which I think has a great deal in it, but I do not find that it is very popular among some of our Christian friends. He says, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor.” That is a very excellent maxim, but, as I say, it is not much practised. All these, I think, are good maxims, although they are a little difficult to live up to. I do not profess to live up to them myself; but then, after all, it is not quite the same thing as for a Christian.

Defects in Christ’s Teaching

Having granted the excellence of these maxims, I come to certain points in which I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here I may say that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, he certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that. He says, for instance, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come.” Then he says, “There are some standing here which shall not taste death till the Son of Man comes into His kingdom”; and there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that He believed that His second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of His earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral teaching. When He said, “Take no thought for the morrow,” and things of that sort, it was very largely because He thought that the second coming was going to be very soon, and that all ordinary mundane affairs did not count. I have, as a matter of fact, known some Christians who did believe that the second coming was imminent. I knew a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them that the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found that he was planting trees in his garden. The early Christians did really believe it, and they did abstain from such things as planting trees in their gardens, because they did accept from Christ the belief that the second coming was imminent. In that respect, clearly He was not so wise as some other people have been, and He was certainly not superlatively wise.

The Moral Problem

Then you come to moral questions. There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of indignation. You probably all remember the sorts of things that Socrates was saying when he was dying, and the sort of things that he generally did say to people who did not agree with him.

You will find that in the Gospels Christ said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell.” That was said to people who did not like His preaching. It is not really to my mind quite the best tone, and there are a great many of these things about Hell. There is, of course, the familiar text about the sin against the Holy Ghost: “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this World nor in the world to come.” That text has caused an unspeakable amount of misery in the world, for all sorts of people have imagined that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and thought that it would not be forgiven them either in this world or in the world to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world.

Then Christ says, “The Son of Man shall send forth his His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”; and He goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a certain pleasure in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth, or else it would not occur so often. Then you all, of course, remember about the sheep and the goats; how at the second coming He is going to divide the sheep from the goats, and He is going to say to the goats, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” He continues, “And these shall go away into everlasting fire.” Then He says again, “If thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.” He repeats that again and again also. I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him asHis chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that.

There are other things of less importance. There is the instance of the Gadarene swine, where it certainly was not very kind to the pigs to put the devils into them and make them rush down the hill into the sea. You must remember that He was omnipotent, and He could have made the devils simply go away; but He chose to send them into the pigs. Then there is the curious story of the fig tree, which always rather puzzled me. You remember what happened about the fig tree. “He was hungry; and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came if haply He might find anything thereon; and when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it: ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever’ . . . and Peter . . . saith unto Him: ‘Master, behold the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’” This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects.

The Emotional Factor

As I said before, I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it. You know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will remember that in Erewhonthere is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that country and finds a new religion in which he is worshiped under the name of the “Sun Child,” and it is said that he ascended into heaven. He finds that the Feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated, and he hears Professors Hanky and Panky say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs, and they hope they never will; but they are the high priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says, “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once know that you did not ascend into Heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of that and he goes quietly away.

That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

How the Churches Have Retarded Progress

You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, “This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.” Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.

That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. “What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.”

Fear, the Foundation of Religion

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing — fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a better place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.

What We Must Do

We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world — its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.


Comforting Thoughts

Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy James M. Tour, Ph.D. T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science   Assuming that … Continue reading

Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy

James M. Tour, Ph.D.

T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

 

Assuming that I have something significant to contribute to the evolution vs. creation debate, many ask me to speak and write concerning my thoughts on the topic. However, I do not have anything substantive to say about it. I am a layman on the subject. Although I have read about a half dozen books on the debate, maybe a dozen, and though I can speak authoritatively on complex chemical synthesis, I am not qualified to enter the public discussion on evolution vs. creation. So please don’t ask me to be the speaker or debater at your event, and think carefully about asking me for an interview because I will probably not give you the profound quotations that you seek. You are of course free to quote me from what is written here, but do me the kindness of placing my statements in a fair context.

I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion. So I prefer to be free of that ID label. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal), one of the finest scientists, mathematicians and inventors that the world has ever enjoyed, and also among the most well-respected and deepest thinking Christian apologists, wrote in his Pensees 463, “It is a remarkable fact that no canonical [biblical] author has ever used nature to prove God. They all try to make people believe in him. David, Solomon, etc., never said: ‘There is no such thing as a vacuum, therefore God exists.’ They must have been cleverer than the cleverest of their successors, all of whom have used proofs from nature. This is very noteworthy.’” As Kreeft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kreeft) points out in his commentary on Pascal’s Pensees, “If the Scripture does not use nature to prove God, it can’t be the best strategy. Notice that Pascal does not say that there are no good proofs of God or that none of them begin with data from nature. Elsewhere, he specifies merely that such proofs are psychologically weak, but he does not say they are logically weak. More important, they are salvifically weak, [meaning that] they will not save us. If nature proved God clearly, we would not have to search for him with all our hearts.” Pascal further writes in his Pensees 429 , “This is what I see that troubles me: Nature has nothing to offer me that does not give rise to doubt and anxiety; if there is a God supporting nature, she should unequivocally proclaim him, and that, if the signs in nature are deceptive, they should be completely erased; that nature should say all or nothing so that I could see what course I ought to follow.” Though 350 years since Pascal penned his dilemma, as a modern-day scientist, I do not know how to prove ID using my most sophisticated of analytical tools. I share Pascal’s frustration. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if, when scientists had obtained the first molecular resolution images of human DNA, it had self-assembled (a thermodynamic process) into the Hebrew script to say, “The God of Heaven and Earth was here.”? But it did not, and I suppose that the wonder would have elicited no love from the skeptic anyway. Therefore, God seems to have set nature as a clue, not a solution, to keep us yearning for him.

Not that it matters much, but since many want to know, I will ask the question for them: Where does Jim Tour stand on the evolution vs. creation debate? I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

From what I can see, microevolution is a fact; we see it all around us regarding small changes within a species, and biologists demonstrate this procedure in their labs on a daily basis. Hence, there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. Here is what some supporters of Darwinism have written regarding this point in respected journals, and it is apparent that they struggle with the same difficulty.

Stern, David L. “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation,” Evolution 2000, 54, 1079-1091. A contribution from the University of Cambridge. “One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved; Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”
Simons, Andrew M. “The Continuity of Microevolution and Macroevolution,” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2002, 15, 688-701. A contribution from Carleton University.”A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution.”

So the debate between the validity of extending microevolutionary trends to macroevolutionary projections is indeed “persistent” in evolutionary biology.

Some are disconcerted or even angered that I signed a statement back in 2001 along with over 700 other scientists: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” Do not the texts written by the two authors above underscore what I signed, namely, “Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged”? And these “oldest problems in evolutionary biology” lead me and many others to our being “skeptical.” It is not a matter of politics. I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? Furthermore, when I, a non-conformist, ask proponents for clarification, they get flustered in public and confessional in private wherein they sheepishly confess that they really don’t understand either. Well, that is all I am saying: I do not understand. But I am saying it publicly as opposed to privately. Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me. Lunch will be my treat. Until then, I will maintain that no chemist understands, hence we are collectively bewildered. And I have not even addressed origin of first life issues. For me, that is even more scientifically mysterious than evolution. Darwin never addressed origin of life, and I can see why he did not; he was far too smart for that. Present day scientists that expose their thoughts on this become ever so timid when they talk with me privately. I simply can not understand the source of their confidence when addressing their positions publicly.

Furthermore, most of my scientist colleagues do not discuss macroevolution very often because they are too busy with their own fields of interest to be sidetracked by such tangential matters. Though the acceptance of macroevolution is rather implicit within their core understandings, most science professors are simply too harried to take much notice of the details. Pondering and thoughtfulness has been pounded and distilled out of many of us; there’s another meeting to attend, another proposal to write, another manuscript to proof, yet another lecture to deliver, 100 more emails to answer, and the anxieties about our futures must be allayed. “The peace which passeth all understanding,” is beyond reach, nay beyond understanding.

Likewise, I do not well-understand the stance of many of my creationist friends regarding their scientific evidence for creation or intelligent design, but they seem to be quite comfortable in most respects with the natural and historical suggestions for its claims. I am happy for them, but I hope that their position does not cause them to trump brotherly love or charity in thought or words. When they write on these topics, they are too quick to cite each other or to refer to 40-year-old studies, and slow to consider the newer findings in the mainstream scientific literature. The scientist is not the creationist’s enemy, and most scientists are quite sincere in producing research that is accurate to the best of today’s measurement abilities. For example, the gross dismissing of radiometric dating experiments that use even multiple corroborating nuclei, not by a mere 20% or even 100%, but by 4-5 orders of magnitude, based on antiquated “scientific” arguments, is unscientific and unfair. Moreover, to simply suggest that “God made it look older than it really is” is also unreasonable. With what else is God deceiving us? The virgin birth, the crucifixion or the resurrection, perhaps? Never. God is not in the business of deception, but in causing man to seek so that he could find. And my creationist friends need some thoughtful explanations for their children because, in my experience, young college-aged people seek truth, and if you threaten them, try to brow-beat them, or show them a select set of cloistered “scientific” data, they’ll smell hypocrisy, and sooner or later in life, reject it altogether.

What a comfort it must be to be pleasantly settled in one camp or the other, but I can not be so settled, and hence I have few tent-fellows. Based upon my faith in the Scriptures, I do believe (yes, faith and belief go beyond scientific evidence for this scientist) that God created the heavens and the earth and all that dwell therein, including a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. As for many of the details and the time-spans, I personally become less clear. Some may ask, What’s “less clear” about the text that reads, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth”? That is a fair question, and I wish I had an answer that would satisfy them. But I do not because I remain less clear.

I hope that’s satisfactory; I mean for me, a scientist and a Christian, to be unsure of a few things in both science and Christianity. The question is not fundamental to my salvation as a Christian which is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ, my confession in him as Savior and my belief in his resurrection from the dead. And I used to think that my outward confession of skepticism regarding Darwinian Theory was also of little consequence to my career as a scientist. Specifically, in the past, I wrote that my standing as a scientist was “based primarily upon my scholarly peer-reviewed publications.” I no longer believe that, however.

In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys. Rice University, from the administration, has always been gracious and open. The president of Rice University, David Leebron, has even written to the faculty that a,

“core value of our university is free and open inquiry. We encourage robust debate on the difficult issues of the day, and we welcome people with many points of view to our campus to better understand those issues and the differences that can divide us. That can and does mean that we sometimes provide a forum for opinions that may be controversial — or even on occasion reprehensible — to many or a few. While we cannot and will not censor the expression of divergent opinions, we do expect those opinions be expressed with civility and with respect for other points of view.”

Hence, by my observation, the unfair treatment upon the skeptics of macroevolution has not come from the administration level. But my recent advice to my graduate students has been direct and revealing: If you disagree with Darwinian Theory, keep it to yourselves if you value your careers, unless, of course, you’re one of those champions for proclamation; I know that that fire exists in some, so be ready for lead-ridden limbs. But if the scientific community has taken these shots at senior faculty, it will not be comfortable for the young non-conformist. When the power-holders permit no contrary discussion, can a vibrant academy be maintained? Is there a University (unity in diversity)? For the United States, I pray that the scientific community and the National Academy in particular will investigate the disenfranchisement that is manifest upon some of their own, and thereby address the inequity.

So what should be taught in schools regarding evolution? As I wrote, I am not a proponent of Intelligent Design for the reasons I state above: I can not prove it using my tools of chemistry to which I am bound in the chemistry classroom; the same tools to which I commensurately bind my evolutionist colleagues. But I think that a better approach might include more teaching about evolution, namely coverage of legitimate scientific criticisms of neo-Darwinism and disputes about the origin of the first life. That would be more balanced.

Some have asked me what I think of the movie, “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed.” I saw a closed viewing of the movie in February 2008, two months before its public showing. It was difficult for me to watch because it struck so close to home, thus I am sure that my feelings were different than the other non-scientists in the theater. As to the veracity of the specific claims by others in the movie, I cannot judge since I was not walking in their shoes. But here is what I fear: the movie might serve to increase the polarization between the scientific and lay communities. That a subset of the scientific establishment is retarding the careers of Darwinian skeptics is true as far as I have witnessed personally. If there are legitimate scientific skepticisms regarding the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution, those skeptics are sometimes stifled through unfair treatment regarding their career advancement; that is real although most scientists would say that such attacks on careers are nonexistent. Most would say such a thing because they are not involved in the skirmish and they are not aware that a colleague down the hall is hemorrhaging. Like many, they are absorbed in their own work because science can be all-consuming. I do not fault them for that. Most scientists, as I said, are far too busy with their own careers to be involved with other’s problems of this sort. A small number of scientists would say that the stifled deserve stifling. Therefore, if attention can be brought to the unfortunate state in science through the movie, let it come. I hope all welcome freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry, even if that freedom threatens one’s own preconceived views or areas of research. But I also hope that the reaction will not be too great on the layperson’s side wherein their disgust induces a politician or two to become incensed in the investigation because of the unnecessarily incendiary portrayals to Nazism, Berlin-walling and church-demolishing in the movie; although entertaining from a theatrical perspective, that part of the movie is taken to an unrealistic extrapolation point. But then again, one who is far more qualified than I am, and further seasoned by fire, believed differently. Viktor Frankl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl), a former Auschwitz inmate wrote in The Doctor and the Soul, that the source for much of the 20th Century’s inhumanity has come from the very origins being discussed here.

“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.

“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”

If Frankl is correct, God help us.


Free Will

SAM HARRIS IS THE AUTHOR of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. His new book is short (96) pages, to the point, and will change the way we … Continue reading

SAM HARRIS IS THE AUTHOR of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. His new book is short (96) pages, to the point, and will change the way we all view free will, as Oliver Sacks wrote: “Brilliant and witty — and never less than incisive — Free Will shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000.” UCSD neuroscientist V.S, Ramachandran notes: “In this elegant and provocative book, Sam Harris demonstrates — with great intellectual ferocity and panache — that free will is an inherently flawed and incoherent concept, even in subjective terms. If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings.”